Cody Barragan hit three, three-pointers in a row in the second quarter. Alpine led 37-24 at halftime of their Bi-District playoff game with Ballinger, but they couldn’t finish them off in the second half, and lost 56-49.
Disappointment was the first feeling everyone dealt with afterwards because the Bucks basketball program had high aspirations. The 2018 District Co-Champions captured Alpine’s first Bi-District playoff win in 27 years. Over the last three seasons, they have racked up 61 wins under head coach Hugh Morrissey, and now expect to compete for District titles and postseason victories every year.
Early three pointers by Aiden Morrissey and Isaiah Nuñez and defensive rebounds by Brady Crump got the Bucks going in the first quarter on Tuesday. Frankie Ontiveros and Barragan both provided points off of the bench, and Alpine appeared to be in control mid-way through the game.
The second half was a Bucks nightmare, however. Ballinger came out of the locker room inspired, and went on a 15-5 run in the third quarter. Alpine still led 44-39 with six minutes left in the game, but they could only manage a couple of buckets down the stretch. The Bearcats exacted revenge on the Bucks, who beat them 65-37 in last season's Bi-District playoffs.
After a three month flurry, basketball season came to a sudden end, and several players began to think about warmer weather, balls, and strikes.
The Bucks weren’t thrilled to be playing an extra game on Feb. 21 after finishing the season tied for third place with Anthony. The two teams had split two exciting games already in 2020, but needed another - played in between the two towns at Fort Hancock - to decide their final seeding.
Alpine had hoped to finish second by beating Tornillo on Senior Night on Feb. 18, but lost by 10. Now the Bucks and Anthony would battle to avoid a first round playoff matchup with the District 4 champions from Wall.
The Wildcats stormed back from an early deficit to tie the game 21-21 in the second quarter. But after Alpine responded, the game was never that close again.
An 11-0 run late in the first half, followed by three quick buckets at the start of the second half, propelled the Bucks to victory. A great pass by Jeremiah Muse set up an Aiden Morrissey three pointer to make it 51-40 at the start of the fourth quarter. Alpine kept working until the final horn, although they were able to give their bench players some time to play at the end.
Anthony standout senior Brandon Au led all scorers with 25 points. Nuñez had 18 for the Bucks. Crump and Morrissey had 12 each, while Muse scored 10.